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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Wrestling's Real Shame
September 7, 2006 by Terry 'BammBamm' Russell


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I'm angry. Actually I'm livid. No, no, make that furious. Something has been bothering me more than watching a five-hour compilation DVD of The Great Khalis greatest matches. While suffering gallstones. And being covered in weeping boils. And having red-hot pokers jammed up my nostrils.

And...you get the picture.

Steroids. An obvious and easy target for someone to criticize granted, though my gripe is an offshoot from the usual critiquing. I'll try to sum it up in one sentence: PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE. Allow me to elaborate. I'm not saying that Joe Public is not bothered by steroids, far from it, perhaps what I should've wrote was: PUBLIC SELECTIVE ACCEPTANCE. What has really got my goat is the revising of the facts by wrestling fans across the world.

For years 'fans' have waxed lyrically of their disdain for 'juiced-up muscle-heads' that have little talent, and no place in a wrestling ring. Recently I read an article in a magazine that is a year or two old. This particular contributor stated that he had had enough of quote 'useless bodybuilders' like Mark Jindrak, Luther Reigns, Sylvain Grenier etc., and wanted to see more Eddie Guerreros and Chris Benoits.

To me that statement reeks of the worst kind of hypocrisy. It's almost as if he was saying it's ok to have a super-human physique as long as you are proficient in the squared circle (or should that be hexagonal circle for TNA fans). That is wrestling's real shame. Take The Dynamite Kid. Dynamite, the greatest wrestler this writer has ever seen, was an admitted steroid abuser.

He was a well toned, short, muscular man who had wrestling skills coming out of every pore, and whose series of matches with Tiger Mask have reached legendary status in the years since. What is rarely brought up though is the fact that he was a steroid taker. Now compare THAT to Road Warrior Hawk.

Hawk was an incredibly successful performer, with partner Animal, he lifted AWA, NWA, WWF and All Japan tag team gold. Together they were one of the biggest acts of the eighties, and yet he was often described as nothing more than a talent-less bouncer in make up. Is the message coming through loud and clear yet" Why does one rule apply for some, and another rule for others" Why was Eddie Guerrero never remonstrated for his obvious (and later proved) steroid use" Why has The Ultimate Warrior faced years of jibes about his chemical physique and lack of ability and yet Chris Benoit (who may or may not use steroids) with his quite frankly monstrous physique (a body which dwarfs his idol Dynamites by the way) receives nothing but universal praise"

I find this a really difficult subject to write about, as people will probably take it to mean I mark out for Warrior and hate Benoit, which is simply not true. For every Dynamite, Guerrero, Eddie Gilbert, plus active pro-workers: Benoit (allegedly), AJ Styles (allegedly), Shelton Benjamin (allegedly), there's Hawk, Warrior, Hercules Hernandez, Rick Rude, Chris Candido and presently: Bobby Lashley (allegedly), Batista (allegedly), Gene Snitzky (allegedly) and many more. Criticism for great workers sadly seems to be swept under that rug, where it will remain until their families receive that most dreaded of phone calls.

by Terry 'BammBamm' Russell ..


Charlie Eccles wrote:
This was a horrible article. I don't have any clue where you are going. Are you saying that you think AJ Styles uses steroids" What about Snitzkey" Snitzkey has a big frame but not much of a physique. Do you like Benoit or not" Please enlighten us. I understand that some people are very judgmental about steroid use, but you have no evidence that some of these people even used them. Please follow up and prove me wrong. You owe it to yourself to make yourself seem like your as knowledgeable as you think you are, but I see through the bull!
Jon Rosaler wrote:
Dalip Singh has a DVD out" I guess it was when he was in Independent Circuit Wrestling.
Craig Ferguson wrote:
You sir, are a complete and utter fool. Get some FACTS then write a column. You know absolutly nothing (not allegedly).
tat2 jake wrote:
i have to say not a bad article, and for the most part very true, it is ok to be on steroids as long as you can wrestle. the other sad part about wrestling and the human body is simple though. you just cant get that kind of physique without steroids or hgh. im not just talking about the batista lashley physique either, just to get the benoit or guererro physique u gotta take something. i have been lifting weights for 10 years and i will tell you i look nothing like a wwe superstar, of course i take no supplements, i just try to eat right, i mean i bench 335 but the human body can only develop so much on its own. i ask the "buff" guys at the gym what they do, and they all respond "roids" its the only way. many will say well look at bodybuilders they have that kind of physique and they get tested, yeah but if u notice a bodybuilder will train at a weight of 300lbs, but be at a competition weight of 260, they go off the roids to slim back down and get it out of their system before the competition. i am not saying roids are a good thing, they are not, they have serious consequences, primarily death, but its the price you pay to be a successfull wwe superstar, or mlb player or nfl player for that fact. i mean take barry bonds carreer for example, before roids, during roids, and now. they just put your body to a level you cant acheive alone. take batista, last year 320lbs, picking up guys like rag dolls, now 290 lbs and straining to power bomb king booker. or look at the recently returning chris masters, enough said. without roids many guys will have no wwe carreer because their character has been built around strength and without the roids the just dont have it. you can count on one hand in the past 15 years guys that have had successfull wwe carreers and not taken roids, even guys like rey mysterio take em, without roids rey would be 130lbs, instead he has huge arms and a huge chest for a man his size. its kinda ironic roids will kill off many wwe superstars and has, and without roids it very well may kill off the wwe. could you imagine wrestling where all the wrestlers are cruiserweights, no one can bodyslam anyone over 210lbs and no one has enough stamina to go more than 10 min in a match. dont get me wrong i am not an advocate for steroids, or else i would take them, but the long term effect on wrestling without them i belive will be negative.
Joe from CA wrote:
I can understand why pro wrestlers use steroids. They want the body and the strength to look and act the part where they can get themselves the financial security they seek. There may be a major difference with steroid users who are pro wrestlers than other pro athletes who use steroids to give them a competitive advantage on the playing field and with the final score. But pro wrestlers are also competing against other pro wrestlers for the top spots, the long term deals, and to become a major cog in the future developing story within their respective company. Pro wrestling should police themselves before the government steps in and does it for them. If they can do it quietly and out of the non-wrestling public eye and press, they can avoid further drug scandals and blemishes on the industry. Nobody forgot the trials of the 90s, so why go through that again"
Stephen Y wrote:
he reason the article said 'useless bodybuilders' Reigns, Jindrak and Grenier is because that is all they have to offer (mainly) whereas Guerrero (could) and Benoit can actually wrestle. Also why did you repeatedly say Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit" What about Triple H (DX SUCKS)" Shawn Michaels (DX SUCKS)" Rey Mysterio" Kane" The Wrestling God JBL" John Cena (SUCKS)" Hulk Hogan (SUCKS)" Scott Steiner (obviously) AND VINCE MCMAHON (EGOTISTICAL CUMBUM) just to name a few who can and can't (John Cena) wrestle.

Also JOHN CENA CAN NOT WRESTLE. HE DOES THE SAME MOVES EVERY MATCH :- SUPLEX, SIDE BELLY-TO-BELLY. CRAP. THEN HE GETS BEAT UP, COMES BACK WITH ONE OR TWO FLYING SHOULDER BLOCKS, SPINNING POWERBOMB, FIVE KNUCKLE SHUFFLE (POOR-MAN'S VERSION OF THE PEOPLE'S ELBOW/ WORM), F-U, THEN HE GETS THE STFU. WHAT A MOVE SET! THE GREATEST ARSENAL SINCE HULK HOGAN'S. THE GREATEST EVER SUPLEX ANND BELLY-TO-BELLY SUPLEX, THE GREATEST EVER SELLING, THE GREATEST SHOULDER BLOCKS, THE GREATEST SPINNING POWERBOMB SINCE VAL PE... VENIS, THE GREATEST, MOST EFFECTIVE PUNCH SINCE MUHAMMAD ALI, THE BEST EVER VERSION OF THE FIREMANS CARRY AND THE MOST EFFECTIVE AND MOST PAINFUL SUBMISSION , GREATER THAN THE CRIPPLER CROSSFACE, WALLS OF JERICHO, ANKLE LOCK AND TRIANGLE HOLD COMBINED. NOOOOOOOOOOOOT. HE IS ABOUT EFFECTIVE AS CHARLES MONTGOMERY BURNS. OH DEAR JOHN CENA. FU.
Joey Hathaway wrote:
Something tells me that you're kind of missing the point of that whole argument. Nobody has ever applauded either Eddy, or Benoit for their use of steroids. As a matter of fact, Eddy was suspended a few times, and even fired once for his use of steroids, and other substances, forced to clean up before being brought back. Benoit, whether he uses steroids or is really just someone who works out a lot, is yet to be proven.

The reason that people love these guys has nothing to do with the kind of shape they're in. It has to do with what they can do in the ring, and whether or not they have any amount of wrestling talent. It's promoters who seem to be into this whole "physique" thing. It's them who are pushing these wrestlers to be leaner and stronger. The fans are looking for workrate, skill and charisma above anything else.

Does anyone remember the days of Arn Anderson" Ric Flair" Jake Roberts" The days when people didn't need that look, when they weren't told to lose "X" amount of pounds. People were respected for their abilities on screen.

Got a little off topic there in the end, but I just wanted to note that people don't like people like Benoit and Eddy because they were on steroids. They like them because they were amazing athletes in the ring. People don't hate guys like Batista, Snitsky, Warrior and such because they ARE on steroids. Most people dislike them because they have no talent inside the ring. They have no charisma. No ability to tell a story through wrestling. So your argument really has no basis, in my opinion.
Jonathan Preston wrote: Can someone sum this article up for me" I think I'm lost!!!
Keith G. wrote:
I'm only mildly upset. But my mild upsetness or shall I say UPSETITUDE stems from the idea that there aren't any fat chicks dominating the women's division, like a female Vader. That'd be cool. Well not fat maybe just thick like a milkshake you see what I mean. Oh tay then this article is all over the board and that leads also to UPSETITUDE something akin to DESTRUCTICITY. Clearly what you're getting at is that more wrestlers need to wrestle drunk instead of high or on steroids. Because drunk is less dangerous and probably cheaper. Let's run down a list of great drunk wrestlers shall we" Sandman the new Icon of drunk wrestling Crusher - Drunken Legend (so says Mad Dog Vachon) Stone Cold - famous for putting away his version of beer you might know as Budweiser(uck) "Drunk" Terry Funk- okay maybe he wasn't but it's sounds cool. Hey you know something" all these guys are brawlers" Maybe if Batista started putting some brews away he could shake off that rust or whatever it is that is stinking up his matches with KING Booker. Point is Terry is no longer allowed to write columns when sitting on Pierre Bernard's Recliner of Rage from the Conan O'Brian show.
Alexxx Cat. wrote:
Why do people use any excuse to trash on things they don't like" For example, Stephen Y. I wonder why he only mentioned WWE guys... and what about that attack on John Cena" Go take your pills, man.

Let me drop the off-topic and meet the article. Over the last years, pro wrestling watch the coming of performers with great physiques (I mean, huge physique) and the public saw that some of the moves are sold better when the wrestler is big. A "spear" delivered by Bill Goldberg, Bobby Lashley or Batista is much more credible to knock down a guy as a finishing move then one delivered by Edge. The physique made the split between the gold: World Heavyweight Championships and Cruiserweight Championships. Remember when people never bite Rey Mysterio Jr. to be World Heavyweight Champion" Rey as a Heavyweight Champ lost to Mark Henry, The Great Khali and Kane three weeks in a whole and you can't be a champion losing like that! If you ever saw Eddie Guerrero or Chris Benoit in the beginning, we can see how skinny they were. How can a guy can be a US/Intercontinental Champion than a World Heavyweight Champion like that" What have they done" Now you can say that happens because Cruiserweight Champion is a 3rd rate champion for the general public as WWE give this division the same importance as the Women's Championship and maybe you're that damn right! TNA made the X-division as important as their Heavyweight division, but with Samoa Joe heading for the NWA World (Heavyweight) title and AJ Styles and Chris Daniels doing Tag Teams... I guess most of their biggest stars are on the Heavyweight scene. The WWE don't let their wrestlers go for steroids no more, so we'll have more natural big guys in the future or steroid users that drop it before coming to WWE. That's healthier for them and for the way the public look to WWE. My whole point is: the public want huge/muscle guys and the titles go around that, but the public don't want people to die because of steroid abuse... is that possible"
Ike Eisen wrote:
Finally an article that is intelligently written. And you're right. If Chris Masters, Gene Snitsky, Scott Steiner and other big guys had the skills the internet wrestling fans want to see, we wouldn't be trashing them for being on the juice. We'd be saying OMG HE'S STUCK IN THE MIDCARD.

But if you have something to offer to the fans that they like, they'll (usually) give you a free pass. Take Randy Orton: the guy has a lot of supporters on the net, in spite of the fact that he is an unpleasant person with (at best) mediocre workrate. Which means Orton's offering these fans something they like. Right now he's being forced to work for free because he flunked a WWE drugs test.

I'm not saying Orton = Eddie or Dynamite Kid, but if Eddie or Dynamite were active competitors now and were busted by a drug test, we'd be going "Oh those poor guys. I hope they get help and get clean."

Look at Scott Steiner. At his prime fans were praising him for his mad technical skills and couldn't wait to see him become World Champion. Then his injuries and steroid use caught up with him, and his workrate suffered. The smark fans turned on him, because he can't do frankensteiners anymore.

It does boil down to the fact that we as fans are pretty willing to overlook questionable stuff done by athletes we admire, so long as we are entertained by them and so long as they give us what we are looking for. Benoit" You can say he stole Kevin Sullivan's wife, and he's still a favorite for the fans. Austin" He's assaulted his ex-wife, and the crowd still loves him. Raven" Fan favorite, never mind that he spent years in a haze of drugs and booze. HHH" Seen as the man who holds people down, and he's still a draw. New Jack" You get the picture.

Then again, wrestlers aren't saints. Nor should they be. Don't hold them up as role models on how to live, because that's not what they are there for.

That being said, it surprises me just how vicious the slams against this article have been. Seriously, the accusations about you hating this wrestler or that wrestler simply prove they don't get it.
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